A new therapeutic method of destroying the cells that cause fibrosis in the lungs and other organs could be an effective treatment option for pulmonary fibrosis patients, according to research reported by Science.

New research offers clues for how to selectively destroy the cells known as myofibroblasts that drive the condition. In mice, this appeared to halt or even reverse fibrosis’s damaging effects.

The research is preliminary, but it gets to the root of an often intractable condition. “This idea of selectively killing [myofibroblasts] is extremely appealing.”

In healthy people, myofibroblasts self-destruct after they finish repairing damaged tissue. But sometimes, they don’t respond to the “self-destruct” signal and keep working away when they’re not supposed to. This leads to areas of scarring caused by a buildup of stiff connective tissue, and it can prevent organs from working properly.

Read more at www.sciencemag.org